Monday 22 October 2018

Bhoys can keep good times rolling with Anderlecht win

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: PA Wire
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Photo: PA Wire

Ronnie Esplin

The current flow of Celtic's fortunes is beginning to resemble a riptide and it will surge onwards this evening if they do nothing more than avoid a 3-0 defeat by Anderlecht in the teams' last Champions League group-stage outing at Parkhead.

Any outcome better than that will guarantee the Hoops European football after Christmas for the first time in five years.

Such reward would complete a particularly satisfying few days for Brendan Rodgers & Co, who last week successfully defended the first leg of the previous season's domestic treble by beating Motherwell in the Scottish League Cup final and went on to win back-to-back league matches against the same opponents.

Like Anderlecht, Celtic saw their chances of progressing in the Champions League universally discounted because of the presence of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Group B.

The difference between the two bottom sides, though, was established by Celtic's impressive 3-0 win in Brussels.

The feat did not impress Paul van Himst, the former Anderlecht player and coach, who expressed disdain for the Scottish champions when he said: "We should never have allowed ourselves to lose to a team of peasants like Celtic. They were a bunch of woodcutters."

Scott Brown's likely appearance this evening will see him set a new Scottish record of 69 appearances in Europe's premier competition, surpassing the total achieved by Kenny Dalglish, with Celtic and Liverpool.

"He's in great company with Kenny, who is obviously a real legend here and at Liverpool," said Rodgers.

"It's a mark of his consistency, to have played that number of games under various managers. It's a great accolade and hopefully he's got many more ahead of him."

Rodgers also seeks to reach a significant milestone. Celtic have not won a Champions League group-stage game on their own turf in five attempts under his management.

"We played very well in the first game over there and now we look to finish it off at home," said the manager. "They will come to attack and look for a victory but that's also what we want. We want to give the supporters a Champions League win at home."

Celtic v Anderlecht,

Live, BT Sport, 7.45

Irish Independent

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